EarthLinks cultivates transformation and self-worth with people experiencing homelessness and poverty. By creating opportunities through Earth-centered programs, individuals step out of isolation and into community—restoring each other and the planet.
EarthLinks was founded in 1996 by Bette Ann Jaster, OP, and Cathy Mueller, SL, who noted profound fragmentation and deep hunger for connection and belonging in society. This cry came from diverse people in many different circumstances, but was most pronounced among people who were homeless and low-income in the inner city. People who are experiencing homelessness are often isolated from others and alienated from the natural world, and connection to others and nature is healing. All of us, regardless of our status, can care for our mutual home, Earth. This was the motivation for beginning EarthLinks.
EarthLinks works to form connections among people and with Earth for their mutual benefit. Education of adults and school children were part of the early years of our programming. Outreach to the homeless started in a craft and gardening program taken to the day shelters for homeless adults in Denver. From the beginning, Day Trips into Nature were offered to break the cycle of boredom and chaos in the lives of people experiencing homelessness, and as a means of beginning to form community among those on the street.
In 2005 EarthLinks moved to 2828 Larimer St, and concentrated on expanding our workshop program into a true social enterprise, known as the EarthLinks Workshop Program. Then in 2013, we purchased our new and permanent home: 2746 W 13thAve, Denver, CO 80204, the move was completed by June 30, 2014.
Proceeds from the sales of our Earth-friendly products help to financially support the program. Products are designed to reuse, repurpose and reduce and include produce from our garden or are designed to care for Earth. Participants in our program find community, connection and a common purpose in caring for Earth.